Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

BIG PROBLEM: Chatbox uses too many resources

I got a notice this morning from our Web host that even with business hosting (which we currently have), we are using too many resources because of the chatbox. They say we have to get a dedicated server, which I absolutely cannot afford. There are not enough donations for that. I'm not sure what to do.

PA bookstore - can using this also help support PA financially?

I just wanted to check, for those based in the U.S.A., does anyone know the answer to the following? 
1. If books are purchased on Amazon via the PA bookstore and paid for via the PA cart that re-directs to, does this benefit PA financially at all?  For the example The Procrastination Equation, hardback  here; paperback here.  
2. Plus for search results in the PA bookstore that redirect to bypassing the PA cart - e.g. here - might these benefit PA financially as well?
3. If so for either of the above, I guess it would be good to promote the links for books that come out from title searches in the PA bookstore  when suggesting any books, so that any purchases can support PA, as well as shopping for books in general on the PA bookstore to help support PA.  
Alternatively assuming the PA bookstore does support PA, if one finds the ISBN for a book one wants to buy via PA and puts the ISBN in the PA bookstore search box, it should come right up.
4. And might there be a way to create an Amazon bookstore portal on the PA website that could generate income selling books to Canada, U.K., Oz etc where we pay local postage via our local area Amazon yet can still support PA? Or might this be more trouble than it's worth?

PA bookstore ideas

Hi Jack,

Yes, the PA Web site does get a small commission from books purchased through the Web site. It's small - ranging from 4% to 8.5% of the book's cover price, depending on how many people buy books through this site. It doesn't usually add up to very much. Of course, I don't make any attempt to draw attention to it or encourage sales through it.

There are so many people from the UK here now that it might be worth setting up a separate store for the UK and possibly Canada, though there are far fewer people here from Canada. We are about half and half US and UK, I think, with a sprinkling of people around the world in other countries (Down Under, Canada, other parts of Europe, and sometimes Asia).

The bigger thing I've been trying to finish up, book-wise, is the PA Big Book (main text), which I now have a very clear idea of how to write. I've just got too much on my plate at the moment. That could be a good way to support the Web site ongoing. (It would not be my first book.)

But all this has to wait for:

(1) Me to finish my bookkeeping - I'm meeting with my accountant in a few days to go over year-end stuff.

(2) Me to finish moving the chatbox over to new software hosted on a third-party server so we stop hogging the CPU on our shared server here (and getting threats from our Web host to shut us down).

Thank you for thinking about this! I appreciate the ideas.

- pro

Chatbox announcement

Read this, please:

Chatbox announcement

giving service\using free technology to support the PA website?

Is there a way someone with I.T. expertise can give service by being able to do whatever it is that is needed to make the chatbox more manageable? Not something I can do but perhaps if so you could state what would be needed?

By the way in case it helps I've come across some other 12-Step online groups that use basic function chat rooms which seem to be hosted on external servers free of charge such as There seem to be lots of free IRC clients with someone suggesting Mibbit to me. Not really sure what all this means but hope it helps!

Plus some 12-Step fellowships are making good use of free technologies such as Skype to host meetings, e.g. slaa skype.  Is there a way we can make use of Skype to support PA activities and help take the load of other resources that need to be paid for?

Plus is there a way to give service by say taking turns in approving the membership requests for a week at a time say, to that pro is not always bogged down by this?  

I really grateful for and appreciate the support the PA website and chatbox is giving me, and if there are other ways to support as well as donations it would be good to know.  

:-D ::lol::


I donate 5.00 a month on the first or third of the month.  Five dollars a month is all I can afford at this time.



I too, just made a donation, after thinking and procrastinating about it.

Glad we are all in this together

thanks, lennon

I am very grateful for your monthly contributions. :)

- pro

Web host insistent about chatbox

I heard back from the Web host. Apparently they have a new person in the "abuse" department. It's someone I don't know, and he doesn't know my history with the Web host - that I've worked with them in the past to minimize the chatbox load, etc. He's saying I can't have a chatbox that's open to the public on a shared server. In other words, it has to be a subscription service, or I have to use a chatbox hosted somewhere else, or I have to have my own server, which will cost $150/month WITH my 50% reseller discount. I do NOT have $150/month.

I also don't have time to deal with this - I'm behind in my accounting and I have an appointment out of town with my accounting in a few weeks. But I can't get away with doing nothing. I still have two more clients today. I'll work on this problem tomorrow and over the weekend. Plus I still have new members to let in.

I think it's the new members in the chatbox that sent us over the "abuse" edge. :(

chat open to public?

quote: "He's saying I can't have a chatbox that's open to the public on a shared server. In other words, it has to be a subscription service, or..."

That doesnt make total sense, because your chat is NOT open to the public, only to registered members.

Ie, i could see on a shared server that having a public ( ie truly public open to literally anyone ) service could, at any time, spike extremely high and affect everyone on that shared server.

That is impossible with, because it is limited to registered users.

Another way of saying that, is the self-limiting feature of charging a subscription is already present by restricting to manually verified members.

Or, maybe this absue dept employee thinks that anyone can sign up and immediately begin using chat? But given that you approve of everyone manually, that can't produce the spike they're worried about.

Or am i missing something?

the touch of the master's hand:

fall down seven times, get up eight - japanese proverb


I told him that registration is required for chat

I told him that registration is required for the chat - it's not just open to the public.

I think the main point is that it's using too many resources on the shared server. I asked him to specify exactly what resources it was using that were excessive, and to specify exactly what the limit was. I haven't heard back yet (though haven't had a chance to check - I just finished with a client, and I have another one in a couple minutes).

I'm pretty sure I will change to chat software served from a third party that I will have to pay for, and then I will put the chat behind a subscription wall - but it will be a low subscription price. I haven't figured all this out yet.

I wish he would not make me do this now. It's going to take a lot of programming time, and I have a serious accounting deadline.

Thank you pro, journey and message received

Journey's idea and also the reasoning is really good. I do think, like Hamlet, that a subscription to the chatbox can be beneficial and work for big users.

I am definitely one of the new members who use it a lot and am making a donation as we speak to show my appreciation and in case costs will incur partly from my use. I also know thay I currently couldn't commit to a monthly subscription for it though (if more than about 10 dollars,  as I have NO income and NO savings left).

So to make sure that the use at least reduces a bit, I am logging off from the chatbox now to do my part. Members who'd like to continue bursting with me could send me an email through my PA-profile and we can consider bursting through gmail or skype or such for now.

Best wishes to all, will continue posting updates on my dissertation project only.


  Pro answered my question before I sent it!

Embrace the suck!

I wasn't sending a subtle message for your "message received"


I wasn't telling you or other new members to stop using the Chatbox. That doesn't solve anything, and also that's not my style. I'm very direct. If I didn't want you to use the Chatbox, I'd just say that. You may as well continue to use it since the load problem exists with you or without you. I have to take action either way.

- pro

minimizing chatbox usage

I've had more correspondence with our Web host. We do need to keep Chatbox usage to a minimum until I have time to reprogram the site and solve the problem, which won't be until mid-December. I think if we avoid chit-chat and using the Chatbox to waste time versus work, it will keep usage low enough that they won't shut us down. I just posted a detailed explanation here:

Thanks, pro

Hi pro, Embarassed

Thank you for the clarification. I meant the 'message received' in a very literal way to acknowledge the issue - it didn't have a double meaning though... I did not feel chased away or anything. Sometimes my english is clumsy because it's not my first language, apologies for that!

I just meant I hear the problem, and tried to do all I can to make sure the issue gets solved positively. But thank you for clarifying that minimising chatbox use won't solve the issue. I'll just use it a bit more again then and just show my support in this matter by trying to donate a bit more often to the PA site.

Smile With lots of gratitude,

Thank you, pro

Thanks, pro, for letting us know it's OK to keep using chat the way we have, at least for the time being. And thank you for all the time and energy you have put into creating, updating, and maintaining this site. I've been here on and off for five years, and it has been a tremendous help. I make a small monthly donation and look forward to the day when I have the resources to increase it. I'm sorry that this issue is coming up at a particularly bad time for you given your other responsibilities and your accounting deadline. I would hope these folks could give you at least a month to deal with this sudden and unexpected dilemma.

Sending my contribution NOW

Greetings Pro and everyone . . .I've been MIA because I've been at Zen Habits.   Leo has a blog but he also set up a subscription service, which includes some video chats, interviews, and self-improvement "courses" as well as a forum but get this:  HE CHARGES $26.00 USD A MONTH.   That shows what a great value this site is.    I'm increasing the amount that I donate each month because I've seen how much this service is really worth. 

I don't use the chatbox but I know it's very beneficial for many of you, so I hope we get to keep it.   PLEASE contribute to keep the site up and running.   I am sure Pro could charge a fee for the site and make some $$.  Instead, Pro chooses to keep it open and available for everyone, paying for a lot of stuff out of pocket, and donating a lot of time and energy to keep it going for US.    That's  love right there folks.   But Pro does not have unlimited time and resources, so WE have to help if we want to keep using this site.   

I see there has been a lot of turnover since I have been away, a lot of new people,  some old people gone, and Rexroth is back! 

Thank you PRO for all you do for this community.   I am overwhelmed at how this site changes peoples' lives, as it has changed mine, and I sincerely hope you are able to keep it going.    


Embrace the suck!

thanks, Journey!

Thanks very much, Journey! I very much appreciate your support. I also am curious about Zen Habits and the idea of making costly parts of this site (like the chatbox) a subscription service. Maybe there are other services that could be offered behind the subscription wall as well. I sent you some email.

chatbox - time and money

I don't have the time right now to devote to programming this site. We're using an old version of Drupal. Before I could make any changes, this would need to be upgraded, and that is highly non-trivial. Drupal is dreadful to upgrade. And then there is the problem of the new chat software. No new module is installed painlessly, and almost certainly ALL chat software has the same problem of high CPU usage - it's just the nature of the application. Are there other options - chat software hosted elsewhere? Perhaps. But I simply don't have the time for this. Tax season is approaching, and I have other projects. I need to make money, maintain my business, etc. This site is already very time consuming.

I'm also not in a position to commit to anything that will cost a lot of money ongoing. I pay for the domain name and the Web hosting ongoing, and that is enough. Some people contribute, but it's a small minority. I will not take on a significant expense for a site run on voluntary contributions. How many of the people commenting in this very thread have ever sent contributions?

I got a very stern message from the "abuse" department at our Web host (addressed to "Dear Customer", though they know me well), saying I must respond immediately. This suggests it was a form letter, triggered automatically. I did respond immediately and asked some questions, and have not heard back a word from them. They know who I am and they know how to reach me. I have many Web hosting accounts with them, plus I'm a reseller. I've brought them a lot of business. This site has been using a large CPU percent because of the chatbox for years. It's something I've discussed with them (we did have to move to a business account), and they have said it was okay.

If they do not respond to my email, then I will consider the case closed and I won't take any action. This is what my email said, by the way:

How much over are we? Is it consistent, or just this month?

I really don't want to have to take away the Chatbox, and I'm pretty sure I can't afford a dedicated server. How much is a dedicated server?

If they put their foot down on the Chatbox, I'll just have to remove it for now, and I will not be putting in a substitute. I do not have the time or the money to invest. I'm sorry.

But I think probably they will not do this, because usually they answer email quickly, and it's been more than a day with no response.

good news, maybe?

i read that as probably good news. Probably was some automatic abuse checker they have running that, one time, for some one-off reason, this site exceeded. So we're probably fine. Here's hoping.

the touch of the master's hand:

fall down seven times, get up eight - japanese proverb


(pro re chat box)

Fingers crossed that the Web host will allow chat box to continue under the existing arrangement. I would be very sorry to lose it, and I expect many here feel the same.

But, I completely understand that you already do enough and that it's too difficult/expensive to make another arrangement.

Thanks again for everything you do!

change is coming

Please read other messages for details.

to Pro, echoing findingaway ...

echoing what Findingaway said to Pro:
"I completely understand that you already do enough and that it's too difficult/expensive to make another arrangement."

Dedicated server cost


Approximately, how much more in donations would be needed for a dedicated server?

Can competing services be considered for lowest price?

not changing web hosts

I will not be changing Web hosts. Our Web host is the best and cheapest one I know of, and I've looked at many.

I'm starting to regret posting about this. I'll just do whatever I need to do. It's my problem.

addonchat hosted on its own server, plugs into drupal


I see that Pro has posted a clarification, and therefore now I understand that adding the addonchat module would be far more technologically complicated than I had assumed it would be.

My apologies to Pro for my ignorance. I really don't know anything how the PA website programming works.  My idea may have seemed good to me, but was actually unhelpful.

Therefore, please disregard the following message.

original message:

I've participated in this chat service on other websites and it works fine.  It's hosted on its own server but you enter via your forum.

The details say that it's drupal-compatible for plugging in to your forum.

Each version costs a different price annually.
Demos of each of the versions are here:

The free version has only one room.

The $80.00-per-year version can host multiple rooms; and you can create temporary rooms.

If we raise the funds this year, we could do the $80.00 version and ... if people don't pay next year, we'd still have the one room.

Caution that each member would need to have java (real java, not just javascript), installed on their own computer, in order for addonchat to work for them.

There is a mobile module that makes chat accessible from certain types of phones. That costs an extra $35.00 per year on top of whatever rate you choose to pay.


Thanks for pointing this out, movingalong. There is other chat software hosted on third party sites, but this is the only one I've seen that can integrate with Drupal and its registration system. I would have to pay for it, so I would implement this with a small subscription fee. I can't keep shouldering costs here.

What I think I'm going to do is look into a way to keep some parts of the site free, and put some parts of the site (like the chat and perhaps other added-value features) behind a subscription wall. If I use a third-party hosted chat like this one, it will cost money, but less money than our own server. I will endeavor to keep subscription costs down while ensuring I don't get stuck with site costs I can't afford.

To install addonchat, I will have to upgrade Drupal. The module is only available for Drupal 6. The current version is 7 and Drupal 8 will be out soon. We're running 5, I think. It's good we haven't upgraded to 7 or we couldn't even run addonchat. The site will be a mess for a while when I do the upgrade. I really wish I didn't have to do this now. I have accounting to do!

Thanks again for helping with the research, movingalong.

You didn't have to log out of the chatbox earlier. Why did everyone have a fit of paranoia when I posted that chatters should come read this thread. Logging out immediately won't help anything. We are experiencing growing pains, but growing is good. I wasn't saying I hate new members or something. Geesh. I just wanted to the people who use the chatbox to be aware of upcoming changes, and have a chance to participate in the discussion.

Are there different programmes we can use the chat function of?

Just a question put out there, to collectively think about... as I dont know much about it.

Are there alternative programs that are free where we can chat on? I know skype/msn messenger etc, perhaps they also work in group form. We'd have to create an account for our PA- anonymous pseudonyms though... but if the fee for the chatbox is too high it could be an alternative...

Will keep on thinking about solutions. Of course I wouldnt mind making a contribution towards the chatbox as i use it, but merely a student...

Solidarity to all,


Both Skype and MSN work in group form.  However you have to install their own software which I, and maybe quite a few others, wouldn't be allowed to do on a work computer.

Good idea though


how much is it?

the touch of the master's hand:

fall down seven times, get up eight - japanese proverb


cost of dedicated server

I don't know the exact cost (I sent a message asking). I do know it's not a one-time thing. It's an annual thing I'd be committing to, and I'm hesitant to do that. Maybe people would chip in right now, but then I'd be stuck next year.

subscription chat service?

If donations don't do it, is there a possibility of keeping most of the site free but charging a small fee to use to the chat?   I know you don't want to do that, but it's a thought if it becomes necessary.    

Embrace the suck!

subscription for chat is a possibility

That is a possibility and probably the best option - make access to the chatbox a subscription service. I'd need to get some statistics and information from the Web host to know how much to charge. If the number of subscribers were below a certain number, we wouldn't need a dedicated server - it would just help me pay for the business server we already have (because of the chatbox). If we had so many people that a dedicated server were necessary, then the subscriptions would give us enough money to pay for one.

There is the problem of programming the subscription service, but I've done this for another site so it may not be too bad.

I'm still hoping my Web host will forget about the whole thing. I still haven't heard another word about it - no response to my email.

I second the subscription proposal

Journey, thank you for your suggestest.  I agree strongly. 

 I joined PA only 2 months ago and already learned how productive I can be when using the chatroom to bookend my tasks -- and conversely, now quickly i regress to seor-productiity when i do not use the chatroom.  Surely, I am not the only person who experiences the clear and immediate benefit.  Yet, this positive experience notwithstanding, there are still days (e.g., yester) that i did not get myself to the chatroom at all.  Therefore, I support Journey's proposal for a subscription service for the reasons that:

1.  Use of the chatroom is an essential tool for recovery.  It would be difficult to replace its function by other means, if there is any;

2. Paying for a subscription is an act of commitment.  Making commitment is a thing for a procrastintor to do;

3. In my case, I know that I would use a paid service more consistently than one that is available to me for free (i've been thinking of donating, but keep procrastinating).  So, I believe that by paying, i could reduce my recidivism.  Perhaps, there are other PA members who also share this experience;

4. I believe PA works because it is an online community.  I cannot imagine getting the same results by bookending my tasks on my own, offline, in the isolation of my work space.  Since we need to be in a community to facility our own recovery, we should act like a community and not leave all the financial burden on Pro; and

5. If we add up all the money we had spent in the past on books, dvds, workshops, etc. to overcome procrastination and the results we got, then, a paid subscription to the chatroom is quite reasonable.  

I for one would be willing to pay $25.00/month for a minimum 3 month subscription.  Other members may want pay more or less -- we can ask Pro to create a sliding scale or set a price/form of payment that she considers appropriate.  I would only suggest that a subscription be no less than 3 months.  This way, it would (a) be easier for Pro to plan and make the necessary commitment to the service provider and (b) ensure that we stay with this program long enough to start building some positive work habits. 


thanks, Hamlet

Thanks for your support, Hamlet. Of all the ideas mentioned, I think Journey's is the most workable. I haven't heard anything more from the Web host, but if I do, I'll look into this avenue (I posted more on this above).